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February 14, 2012 | General

Media Release

“First Passengers” test new EIA terminal

Test run uncovers those hidden tweaks needed to be done before U.S. terminal opens February 11

January 28, 2012 (Edmonton, AB) Around 900 community volunteers flocked to Edmonton International Airport (EIA) Saturday to test the new terminal as part of preparations for the February 11 opening of the newly expanded U.S. Departures area. Also helping out with trials were 50 volunteers from EIA staff, about 100 volunteers from airlines operating out of the main airport terminal, 40 EIA Northern Lights volunteers, and 14 members from the Beaumont Air Cadets.

“We’re very thankful so many people in the community graciously gave of their time to help us,” said Diane Trenn, EIA Vice-President, Airport Operations. “Whenever you build a new place, you need to do a thorough check of everything before moving in. Having people play passengers in a normal airport scenario helps staff and planners find those final adjustments that come up with any new building. By having this trial two weeks before opening day, we have time to make those changes.”

A range of volunteers, from frequent travellers to those with young families or with disabilities, tested the new facilities in shifts of up to four hours. Volunteers played the role of departing and arriving passengers, checking in for mock flights, checking their bags and moving through security and customs. Volunteers then provided feedback on what worked and what they found challenging in the terminal. EIA will use the feedback to ensure the terminal is ready when it opens to passengers.

“When we started recruiting back in October, we hoped to get somewhere between 700 and 1,000 volunteers for public activation trials but we surpassed our target much earlier than expected,” said Trenn. “It shows that our community really wants to see EIA’s new terminal and we were more than happy to adjust the trials to accommodate the higher numbers. It really shows people care about their city and their airport.”

EIA passengers got their first experience of the expansion in December with the opening of 12 new shops and restaurants in the expanded Central Hall. Following the opening of the much larger, speedier and comfier U.S. Departures Lounge in February, the new Canadian Border Security Agency area is set to open this summer. This fall, the domestic and international lounge will also open after the temporary Terminal Express passenger bridges are dismantled and permanent ones are put in place. Expansion 2012 will add 34 new shops and restaurants when completed in the fall.

The Central Tower, future home to NAV Canada air control and business offices, will open by late 2012. Also scheduled to open around the same time is the new Courtyard by Marriott hotel, which will connect to the airport terminal and provide 210 rooms for travellers.

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Media Contact:

Traci Bednard

Communications

c: 780 909-9554

e: tbednard@flyeia.com

 

Sarah Meffen

Communications            

c: 780 884 2966  

e: smeffen@flyeia.com